A character with a big mouth says something stupid or, better yet, self-incriminating, often with the subject of their commentary standing nearby or, better yet, right behind them. Usually the twin trope to or immediately followed by Did I Just Say That Out Loud?. The trope name comes from the phrase "to put your foot in your mouth" (also playfully referred to as "foot-in-mouth disease", a pun on the very serious livestock illness "foot-and-mouth disease").note Closely related to Ignore the Disability. Can lead to either Change the Uncomfortable Subject or Digging Yourself Deeper. Sometimes both.
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Anime and Manga
- Tsurubami Kamome from Medaka Box actually gets kicked in the mouth twice for doing this too often. Not that it hurts him.
- Cowboy Bebop: Spike is very aware of this trope
"Open foot, insert mouth."
- Latvia of Axis Powers Hetalia is prone to this, which is a very bad thing when Russia is constantly hanging over your shoulder. Often closely followed by Lithuania or Estonia's "Latviaaaaaaaaaaa!"
Latvia: I do feel safer in his hairy arms.
- Done in epic fashion in Death Note when L asks Light how, as a detective, he would go about trapping Kira, Light's secret Serial Killer alter-ego. Once Light has given L his answer, L "praises" him by pointing out that while it usually takes professional investigators severals minutes to even come up with an answer to that question, Light immediately responded with an answer that a serial killer talking directly to the investigators would give.
- Elecktrum's Narnia Fics are full of this trope. One fic revolves around it completely, and another has a chapter revolving around the similar phrase "eating crow." Her OCs and minor characters also get into the act, especially where Edmund is concerned:
- Tumnus unintentionally insults Edmund by implying that Edmund had worked for the white witch in "The Conscience of the King".
- In "Black Dwarfs, Blue River" an overzealous faun angrily tells Edmund regarding the persecution of families of some satyrs who fought on the witch's side that the wives and children (who did not fight for the witch) were "Sons of traitors [who] deserve what what they get." Edmund responds cooly: "so what will you call my sons?" Oops.
- And then there's Ilano's Right in Front of Me moment in "They Also Serve"
- In the prequel to Respawn of the Dead, Heavy accidentally insults Medic a few times. But, to be fair, it's pretty clear that Medic is only insulted by being told he sounds like Greta Garbo because he has no idea he was practically quoting her.
- In the Back to the Future fanfic Homecoming, George, not knowing about the age gap between Doc and Clara, asks where "Mrs. Brown" is. He's mortified when he finds out that Clara is Doc's wife, not his stepdaughter, and apologizes profusely.
- In Kira Sweetheart Light has one of these moments when he discovers that L has been abused in the past.
Light: WHO did this? Give me their name!
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fanfic "The Model Caretaker" Has Fleur de Lis struggle with this in the first half of the story, especially when Fluttershy is about.
- From another MLP fanfic, The Rise of Darth Vulcan: Artful Dodger is discussing showering with Eiderdown and starts speaking before thinking.
You could literally see the words travelling from his mouth, to his own ears, and from thence to his brain. His eyes went round for a second. "Once. One. At a time, that is. Not that there isn't enough room for two. Heh. I mean—- I'll go first, that way you kin take your time. Afterward. By yourself." He literally shoved his own hoof in his mouth to shut himself up. He bit down on his hoof for a second then spoke around it. "G-g-give you time to, uh, pretty yourself up afterward...."
- The New Look Series has several examples of this trope.
- In Short Circuit Howard theorizes the potential danger of having their laser-armed robot roaming free. The stereotypical Indian guy, Ben, hasn't really grasped the concept of discretion.
Howard: What if it decides to melt down a busload of nuns? How'd you like to write the headline on that one?Ben: Nun Soup?
Live Action TV
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer
- Spike does this often when he's trying to court Buffy.
- Invoked by Buffy in "Dopplegangland" when she tries to apologize to Willow (not realizing she is talking to Willow's alternate universe vampire double) for an unfortunate comment earlier in the episode, saying, "You know how my foot likes to live in my mouth."
- Referenced fairly often on M*A*S*H. In one case, BJ claims Charles has "put a whole shoe store" in his mouth." (That example, interestingly, was incorrect, as Charles had fully meant to offend everyone.)
- Coupling: A form of Cannot Talk to Women, by Jeff: just about every time Jeff talks to a woman, he manages to do this. For example, this exchange occurs just when things seem promising:
Lynda: I like kissing, don't you?Jeff: Oh, yeah! Especially the tongues part. I love getting all that extra tongue. You know, sometimes I eat really cold ice cream just so that my tongue goes numb and it feels like someone else's... But then we all get lonely sometimes.
- In Firefly, Simon does it virtually every time he tries to have a conversation with Kaylee.
- Kamen Rider Dragon Knight: Kit says this trope word to word after unknowingly hurting Chris.
- In Sherlock, we have Molly.
Molly: How's the hip?Mrs. Hudson: Oh, it's atrocious. But thanks for asking.Molly: I've seen much worse. But then I do post-mortems.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation: During the 3rd season episode, Hollow Pursuits, Capt. Picard accidentally calls Barclay by his unofficial nickname Broccoli. Data tries to put a positive spin on the situation by referencing psychology but really only makes the situation worse.
- In one episode of The Golden Girls, Blanche had an epic one. She meets and asks out a man she met in a bar, not realizing at the time (since he was sitting down) that he was blind. When he comes to pick her up for their date, she enters the room, saying things like, "Aren't I the prettiest thing you've ever seen?" and "What's the matter, are you blinded by my beauty?" She finally takes a good look, sees his cane, and stops in her tracks. Sophia directly addresses it, saying, "Want a glass of water to wash down your foot?"
- JAG: Lt. Bud Roberts falls victim to this fairly often, especially in the pilot movie whenever dealing with Lt. Caitlin Pike. His case of Foot-in-Mouth Disease is particularly unfortunate given that his original job is Public Affairs.
- NCIS: Jimmy Palmer is very prone to this. He does not seem to have heard the old adage that "a closed mouth gathers no feet". His foot tasting episodes routinely escalate to Digging Yourself Deeper territory.
- DiNozzo runs afoul of this trope from time to time as well.
- In Doctor Who, the Tenth Doctor has a bad habit of doing this while talking to Queen Elizabeth I, repeatedly saying terribly offensive or regrettable things under the assumption she was a Zygon duplicate. It gets them married.
- A Moody Christmas. In the first episode Dan mistakes Cora for a door-knocking Red Cross volunteer because of her shirt, and donates some money. It turns out she is his cousin's new girlfriend, isn't a volunteer, and designed and hand-made the shirt herself.
- In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Uncle Phil makes a remark that offends Vivian, Will quips "I've always known your a hungry man, Uncle Phil, but both feet?".
- The cover for Robert Sherman and Al Larsen's album "Smash Flops" (containing such bon mots as Columubs, You Big Bag Of Steam and Watch World War III On Pay TV) has a Virgil Partch drawing of a conductor directing three male singers, each with their foot in their mouth.
- Cartoonist Ron Tandberg often depicted former Victorian Premier and Hawthorn Football Club president Jeff Kennett literally doing this when he made a gaffe.
- Happens during a story arc in Zits, when Jeremy says increasingly thoughtless things to Sara (first "Your freckles help cover your zits" and "What's it like having divorced parents?"), the word balloons for which immediately turn black with white letters and linger in the air.
Religion & Mythology
- Code Name: Hunter: Gypsy stuffs both feet, up to her knees in when called to the commander's office by Queen Moraine. She's not in trouble. Yet. One of the readers lampshaded this in the Shout Box.
- Niomi is busy repairing the waste-water recycling plant. The toilets will work and you can get a drink.
- Not the best thing to say to an uplifted dog (well, wolf).
- Sam Starfall tries to convince Florence not to trust Winston too quickly, only to accidentally confess to being everything but trustworthy
- Niomi is busy repairing the waste-water recycling plant. The toilets will work and you can get a drink.
- The Whiteboard:
- In this strip Pirta and Swampy get into a brief discussion of his nickname. After Swampy asks about her name in an idiot moment for him, he comments that he can skip the appetizer, as he'll just chew on his own foot.
- In In this strip, a customer that's been hassling Pirta for a date is asked if he'd be okay with the situation were their positions reversed, and she were trying to get him to cheat on his girlfriend. He accidentally lets slip that he'd be fine with cheating on his girlfriend Jenny for a date with Pirta. He winds up thrown bodily out of the store after being beat up by Pirta for his troubles.
- In Tales of the Questor, Quentin tries to compliment Meribeth on something other than her breasts.
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures :
- Aaryanna has the bad habit of invading the dreams of her boyfriend Merlitz, but when she tried to convince Dan to embrace his Cubi's cultural heritage, she commented that's nothing better for a cubi than simply invade other peoples' dreams... and she said that within Merlitz's earshot.
- The title says all...
- Abel, when he has to explain his Cubi mark on his back (neither he or his mother were aware that he was a cubi at the time, but his theory of how it got there doesn't please his mother).
- Dan is a master of this trope, and he is aware of this.
- Lorenda does this epically here.
- The Fox Sister: Alex has a talent to say just the wrong things to Yun Hee.
- Dragon City:
- Rachel makes a demeaning comment over the Ex-mayor, Donningan, saying that he was arrested for being ugly in the wrong place. Too bad that his grandaughter was within Rachel's earshot.
- Sam would do the same mistake when he talked an explicit language to Rachel within Jonas' earshot.
- Beatrix isn't a master in keep compromising secrets to herself.
- Done at least twice by Grey O'Shea in Terra, though the best one is also the first. See page 130 where he crossed it with Right Behind Me.
Simmons: (referring to Grey's rescue of Alex and Rick) C'mon, I saw that one of the officers was female, and a cute one at that—I know you, Grey.
Grey: Her?! Please, she's way too uptight. I don't have time for girls like that.
Simmons: What, you think you even stand a chance?
Grey: Give me a break. She may have an attitude, but if I wanted her, I could have her by the end of the night.
Alex: Hm, I'll take that bet.
- A Running Gag in Schlock Mercenary is the multiple creative variations used to call someone (usually Tagon, but he was by no means the only guilty party) out when they said something particularly embarrassing to or about another character while in earshot. It doesn't get mentioned as frequently in more recent strips as it did early on, but still pops up from time to time.
- Paranormal Mystery Squad: Apparently, Stephanie's been around the block a few times 'cuz she seemed way too familiar with "Inspiration Point". She not only failed to cover it up, she wound up confirming it by proudly admitting it to Agent Lisbon:
Agent: "After all, this is "Inspiration Point". You know what kids do out here."Stephanie: (smiles proudly) "Don't I EVER."*realizes she said that out loud, as J.C. and Charlotte smirk behind her*Stephanie: (busted) "Er— no! I totally don't!"
- Twokinds: "Red" has recently started running afoul of this trope. Winds up running into Digging Yourself Deeper territory.
- A defining trait of Flux from morphE to the point that the comic introducing her was even named Open Mouth to imply this very trope.
- Stand Still, Stay Silent: One character describes the sound of the Danish language. With a pair of Danish soldiers right behind him.
- In Gunnerkrigg Court, Mort the ghost says Annie is "attractive," then starts backpedaling and trying to explain he didn't mean that kind of attractive, and concludes by turning himself into a gravestone with a "foot -> mouth" pictograph.
- Ménage à 3: Clueless geek Gary is prone to this sort of error. See here for one, lampshaded, example.
- The Flintstones: Fred literally did this on many occasions.
- Happens often in Aladdin: The Series with the title character.
- Happens to The Hipster in the Tex Avery short "Symphony In Slang" when he's put on trial for skimping out on a restaurant bill, and every time he opens his mouth, he puts his foot in it. Like everything else in the cartoon, this is illustrated.
- This happened in The Life and Times of Juniper Lee The Titular character calls her crush a "total babe with the hair and the cute smile" when he's standing Right behind her. She quickly realizes this. In fact the full sentence is "Just because Marcus is a total babe with the hair and the cute smile, doesn't change the fact that he's standing right behind me does it?"
- Steven Universe: Pearl is in fine form in the episode The Test, first accidentally revealing that the Sea Spire mission was a test, then digging herself deeper when she desperately tries to rectify the situation. Her Oh Crap! expressions throughout the whole thing are priceless.
- In Justice League Unlimited, Batman and John Stewart are talking about relationships when John idly mentions Bats and Wonder Woman being together. Batman starts explaining that, while he admires her as a friend and a teammate, going any further isn't really in the books before he comes to realize that, oops, she's right behind him.
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "No Second Prances", after Starlight Glimmer calls out Twilight Sparkle on her paranoia towards Trixie, Trixie begins to gloat and calls winning over Starlight a victory. This hurts Starlight and wants an explanation. When Trixie tries to explain that she really was her friend and beating Twilight was just a bonus, Starlight's so hurt by this, she ends up running off.